Theft Prevention Diversion Programs
Summary: This policy will provide for theft prevention programs and reduce recidivism rates of nonviolent shoplifters.
Relative to theft of goods, this act will provide a mechanism for theft prevention programs, prohibit the exclusion of participants based upon certain factors, provide relative to a fee, provide relative to certain requirements of the program, to provide definitions, and to provide for related matters.
A. Detention and arrest of shoplifters
(i) A merchant or a specifically authorized employee or agent of a merchant who has reasonable cause to believe that a person has committed a theft of goods held for sale by the merchant, is not precluded from offering such person the opportunity to complete a theft prevention program in lieu of reporting the suspected person otherwise eligible to participate in the program on the basis of the person’s race, national origin, religion, sex, or the ability to pay the fee.
(ii) A provider of a theft prevention program that charges a fee to participate in the program may reduce or waive the fee based upon the inability of a participant to pay.
(iii) A provider of a theft prevention program shall maintain records of the program’s rate of success, including the rate of those who complete the program and the recidivism rates of those who complete the program for a period of not less than three years without including personal identifying information. This report shall be made available to the district attorney upon request.
(iv) A provider of a theft prevention program shall provide to the district attorney, upon request, its criteria for a person’s participation in its theft prevention program.
(v) A merchant or a specifically authorized employee or agent of a merchant that offers a person the opportunity to complete a theft prevention program shall provide a copy of the written offer to the district attorney upon request.
(vi) Nothing in this Subparagraph shall preclude a district attorney or court from offering a theft prevention program in compliance with the provisions of this
(a) The participant shall not be required to sign an admission of guilt nor sign any binding agreement in connection with participation in the theft prevention program.
(b) Any person who successfully completes a theft prevention program pursuant to this Subparagraph shall not be subject to any additional civil penalties under any other provision of law.
The following definitions apply:
(1) “Cooperation of the person detained” shall be necessary and the individual shall not be detained for an unreasonable period of time; the totality of the circumstances shall be considered with respect to the length of time a person is detained.
(2) “Theft prevention program” is a pre-arrest program designed to address the underlying causes of theft, reduce the occurrences of theft, and promote accountability and reconciliation between the person suspected of theft and the merchant, and may be provided by the merchant or an independent third-party provider.